Let’s eat some dogs

Campbell Live had a slot tonight about dogs being stolen, mistreated and killed for human consumption in the Phillipines. They profiled Elly Maynard working with Sirius and the Animal Kingdom Foundation trying to help the dogs – and considering the conditions the dogs were in, good on them.

However, the main thing that Elly Maynard was saying was “Dogs are not for human consumption”. Her primary motivation did not seem to be preventing suffering (although she was obviously very concerned about that), but that eating dog or cat meat was intrinsically wrong.

But why?

Why should dogs (or cats, or whales) be considered cuddly and cute animals that we cannot eat, when sheep, cows, pigs etc are fair game?

It isn’t intelligence – pigs may be more intelligent than dogs, yet we eat them. It isn’t diet, for we eat plenty of carnivorous fish, while pigs and chickens are omnivores and we eat them, and dogs can live on a vegetarian diet. It isn’t Biblical statements about what food is ok, because modern society rejects the Bible and even most Christians believe the Jewish food laws no longer apply. It cannot be disease, for although you can catch rabies from eating a stray dog that should be no problem if they were farmed.

It can only be the Western perception of cats and dogs as pets (as that is the role we have grown up with them as), and sheep and cattle as meat.

So who is a New Zealand animal lover to tell the Filipinos they cannot eat dog, provided they farm and kill them humanely? If Hindu Indians were to come here and say we can’t eat beef we wouldn’t stand for it, so why do we tolerate Westerners trying to force their views on other cultures?

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts. Have any of you tasted dog?

UN says eat less meat

The UN is calling for people to eat less meat, to combat global warming. This is because animals produce more greenhouse gas emissions per kilogramme of food produced than plants, as a rough rule.

This has major problems however:

  • This is only a rough rule. Rice causes high methane emissions. Greenhouses (especially in cold climates) cause high emissions (oil consumption to heat them, construction of the greenhouse in the first place etc.). Some vegetables may be transported by plane to get them to markets fresh (high emissions), while meat is frozen and transported by ship (lower emissions). You cannot assume vegetables are low-emission simply because they are vegetables.
  • It completely ignores the fact that large areas of land, such as the New Zealand high country, are completely unsuitable for cropping. If you were to crop them (assuming you could get a tractor on the slopes), you would have massive problems with soil erosion and water pollution. However this same land can be grazed extensively by sheep and cattle with far fewer environmental problems. So for much of NZ it is more environmentally friendly to produce meat than vegetables.
  • It ignores the relative importance of different kinds of pollution. Are carbon emissions worse than water pollution and soil erosion, or are they less important?
  • It could have serious implications for our export sector, if people actually listen and buy less of our meat.

It is unfortunate that the UN, a body which we should be able to trust, can make such flippant recommendations which would have little benefit but a large potential to cause harm.